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Philadelphia Phillies Meet Toronto Blue Jays at Citizens Bank Park for All-Important Series

The Philadelphia Phillies welcome the Toronto Blue Jays back to Citizens Bank Park for a two-game set, looking to avoid a fifth consecutive collapse.
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The Philadelphia Phillies return home after disaster in Atlanta to face the reminders of past disasters. When ever the Phillies face the Toronto Blue Jays, it will always conjure up images of fireworks above a nylon field and Joe Carter jumping around the bases.

The Phillies hope to avoid that outcome in their upcoming games with the Blue Jays, these two contests at home are as 'must-win' as they come.

With a five-game lead on the Milwaukee Brewers cut to a two-game lead following a four-game losing streak, the distance between the Phillies and a fifth consecutive September collapse has shrunk considerably.

Against Toronto, the Phillies will face a vaunted lineup as key figures for Philadelphia continue to work out struggles that have plagued the team the past weeks. The Phillies are 7-8 in September. Only a few games away from catastrophe, they'll need every aspect of their team to pull equal weight as starting pitching, the lineup, bullpen, and defense all struggled against the Braves in Atlanta.

Game One: Tuesday 6:45 p.m. EST - NBCSP | Ross Stripling vs. Kyle Gibson

Ross Stripling is having a career year in Toronto. Traded from the Los Angeles Dodgers in August of 2020, Stripling struggled initially, but his 2.94 ERA over 119.1 innings this season is a personal best. Since transitioning to a full time starter on Jun. 6, his ERA is 2.47. He hasn't been striking batters out at a tremendous rate, but he's limited home runs and walks exceptionally well.

Ross Stripling is having the best season of his career with the Blue Jays.

Ross Stripling is having the best season of his career with the Blue Jays.

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After two rough starts to begin September in which he allowed 11 runs on just 6.2 innings, Gibson began to right the ship against the Miami Marlins. Though the Marlins' lineup often provides smooth sailing for opposing pitchers, Gibson's six-innings of one-run ball were much needed for both himself and the Phillies. Now he'll hope to repeat the task against a Toronto lineup that leads the American League in almost every offensive category.

Game Two: Wednesday 6:45 p.m. EST - NBCSP | Kevin Gausman vs. Zack Wheeler

After beginning what seemed to be a mediocre career with the Baltimore Orioles, Gausman reinvented himself with the San Francisco Giants in 2021, pitching 31 starts for a 2.81 ERA and earning a well-deserved $110 million contract with the Blue Jays. It's safe to say he's lived up to that billing in 2022, pitching to a 3.45 ERA over 28 healthy starts with an AL leading 2.40 FIP. Yet, Gausman has faltered of late. Over his last five starts, his ERA is 5.40.

Zack Wheeler looks to rebound after losing a month to injury.

Zack Wheeler looks to rebound after losing a month to injury.

Wheeler has been plagued by ailments throughout 2022. After failing to ready himself for a start in spring training, he worked his way up to fitness in the regular season. Finally stabilized, he hit the IL after an Aug. 20 start against the New York Mets. After losing a month to injury, Noah Syndergaard will piggyback Wheeler, hoping to ease the load on both pitchers. Wheeler will also look to improve upon his last start against Toronto in which he allowed six runs in 4.2 innings.

More From SI's Inside The Phillies:

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  2. How Mike Trout Will Join the Phillies
  3. Could Bryce Harper's Favorite MLB Player Join the Philadelphia Phillies Next Season?
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  5. Phillies Release 2023 Regular Season Schedule
  6. Have the Philadelphia Phillies Found Their Centerfielder of the Future?
  7. Could The Phillies Soon Be Playing in Wawa Park?
  8. How did Philadelphia end up with Citizens Bank Park?
  9. How the Phillie Phanatic Came to be America's Favorite Sports Mascot
  10. Picking the Phillies' All-Time Single Season Lineup

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